Charismatic singer and guitarist Erin Harpe, along with her band the Delta Swingers, have become favorites around New England, with a growing fan base around the world. Their unique brand of dance music is rooted in vintage 1930’s Mississippi delta blues, then shaken and stirred with other genres like soul, funk, and reggae, evoking a wild southern juke joint where the whiskey and gin are flowing and everybody’s dancing.
Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers features Erin on vocals and lead guitar, backed by Jim Countryman on bass, Bob Nisi on drums and vocal harmonies, and Matt Charles on harmonica. Their critically acclaimed debut album “LOVE WHIP BLUES” (VizzTone) has been very well received, getting 4 stars in DownBeat Magazine, and airplay around the world including SeriusXM’s Bluesville!
“LOVE WHIP BLUES” is a refreshing, rootsy take on the blues, with songs about trains, hard luck and good luck, and of course (in the vein of Harpe’s other band, Lovewhip) shakin’ your booty. Ten swinging tracks include four originals, Harpe’s take on songs by 1930’s blues artists, and a very unorthodox version of the classic John Prine song, “Angel From Montgomery”, famously recorded by Bonnie Raitt. Produced by Dave Gross (Candye Kane, Chris O’Leary, Albert Castiglia, Gina Sicilia) at Fat Rabbit Studios, the album shows off the band’s signature Charles River Delta Blues – their own country blues/roots/americana cocktail – including an appearance by guest star guitarist Bob Margolin (Muddy Waters band).
“As a young girl, Annapolis, Maryland–native Erin Harpe learned the blues literally at the feet of the African American blues players of the Washington, D.C. acoustic scene. Her father, visual artist and guitarist Neil Harpe, was a mainstay at the famed Archie’s Barbershop where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Archie Edwards, John Cephas, Phil Wiggins and John Jackson. Erin grew up as a friend to all, picking up the true blues from early on. Her father, Neil, is internationally renowned among guitarists as a Stella expert and “purveyor of fine old time guitars.” –Frank Mathies, Living Blues Magazine
Growing up in the Washington DC area, Erin began playing the guitar in her teens taught by her father, bluesman Neil Harpe. She soon began performing at folk festivals, coffee houses, bars, and parties in the DC area, developing a strong blues guitar and vocal style of her own. Erin relocated to Boston to develop her music career, where she met local blues talents such as Paul Rishell and Susan Tedeschi.
Erin has released two acoustic blues albums, her debut Blues Roots (2002) and an album with her dad – Delta Blues Duets in 2008. Both received rave reviews and radio airplay across the United States, as well as at least six European countries and Japan. Erin’s soulful vocal style and accomplished finger-picking guitar playing has earned her many fans, including guitar great Ronnie Earl, and she is quickly becoming recognized on the international blues scene. In fact, Erin just completed her first European tour in Spring 2014!
Like her predecessors Memphis Minnie and Charley Patton, Erin has a wide appreciation of many styles of music, and ventures fearlessly outside the blues to lead her “Other Band,” the electro-funk dance band Lovewhip. Erin has even been known to slip a Lovewhip song into her blues sets, and the dancers don’t seem to mind a bit.